Week beginning 21 June

I feel basically pretty positive about this week. There are good reasons to. The launch of Repairs Hub was basically successful and within 24 hours reduced the length of the average emergency repairs call by a minute and by the end the week to about two minutes, or 16%. That’s the power of designing tools with staff, that work the way they need to. 

Accompanying that, Kelly had built out the action plan so that we could share with councillors and residents the steps we’re taking to manage the expected high demand for repairs, now that normal service has resumed. 

I also had time to design the high-level plan for a career development scheme in customer services, sufficient to start a discussion with colleagues as we tailor it to their needs. 

On three occasions I had enough time to do things that were important, rather than just those which my diary determined to be important. So lots of reasons to feel positive. 

But it’s all about perspective. We still haven’t been able to solve access to the PSN. I committed to doing a document to help progress our elections work, and did one but not the other. We solved a capacity constraint, but because of Soraya’s hard work and because we got lucky, rather than anything I did. 

What I’m learning

I need a bit of an ego to keep going. But a saga like PSN is a healthy reminder that I can’t make things better by getting stuck-in. I also managed to break hackit.org.uk by trying to rush a software update (I think). There must be a sweet spot somewhere in the middle – where you’ve enough confidence and sense of possible achievement to get the extra motivation you need but not so much that you expect to succeed. Optimism of the will, pessimism of the intellect. Sadly, Gramsci might also have contributed to the culture wars. 

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I did three creative things this week. It was playing on my mind that I’d spent so long thinking technically that I’d not actively thought imaginatively or creatively of late. The first time was on a task that I did in a car park in Barnet during my daughter’s swimming lesson, but it seemed to make it easier to do two more. I’ve got low expectations: the results don’t need to be particularly impressive, but I do enjoy weeks more when I have done different types of tasks. 

Next week

I’ve got several things to dig into next week which are only loosely aligned to the cyberattack recovery. We’ve got the first wave of users adopting the new phone system; some questions about property data architecture to resolve and need to agree an approach for how we design citizen login as a reusable component. 

Whilst it’s good to have the variety, we’re also reaching the middle of the year so it’s time to revisit the ‘year to define a decade’ and reflect on what we’re learning, where existing plans are maturing and where we need to accelerate.